Group challenges Kansas ban on telemedicine abortions - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Group challenges Kansas ban on telemedicine abortions

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • In year of Democratic hopes, GOP comes out on top in Florida

    In year of Democratic hopes, GOP comes out on top in Florida

    Monday, November 19 2018 12:23 AM EST2018-11-19 05:23:18 GMT
    Tuesday, November 20 2018 1:25 PM EST2018-11-20 18:25:05 GMT
    (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, Phelan M. Ebenhack). This combination of November 2018 photo shows Andrew Gillum, left, the Democratic candidate for governor, and  Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, Gillum ended his hard-fought camp...(AP Photo/Steve Cannon, Phelan M. Ebenhack). This combination of November 2018 photo shows Andrew Gillum, left, the Democratic candidate for governor, and Republican candidate Ron DeSantis. On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, Gillum ended his hard-fought camp...
    In the year Florida's Democrats talked ambitious of ending 20-year journey in political exile, Republicans come out on top for governor and even pick up a US Senate seat.More >>
    In the year Florida's Democrats talked ambitious of ending 20-year journey in political exile, Republicans come out on top for governor and even pick up a US Senate seat.More >>
  • Gunman in California mass shooting showed warning signs

    Gunman in California mass shooting showed warning signs

    Tuesday, November 20 2018 1:12 AM EST2018-11-20 06:12:30 GMT
    Tuesday, November 20 2018 1:24 PM EST2018-11-20 18:24:51 GMT
    (California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP, File). FILE - This 2017 file photo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Ian David Long. Authorities said the Marine combat veteran opened fire Wednesday evening, Nov. 7, 2018, at a coun...(California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP, File). FILE - This 2017 file photo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Ian David Long. Authorities said the Marine combat veteran opened fire Wednesday evening, Nov. 7, 2018, at a coun...
    Authorities haven't settled on a theory of why Ian David Long shot and killed 12 people at a Southern California bar.More >>
    Authorities haven't settled on a theory of why Ian David Long shot and killed 12 people at a Southern California bar.More >>
  • Gunman in Chicago hospital shooting had prior complaint

    Gunman in Chicago hospital shooting had prior complaint

    Tuesday, November 20 2018 1:02 AM EST2018-11-20 06:02:26 GMT
    Tuesday, November 20 2018 1:24 PM EST2018-11-20 18:24:44 GMT
    (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune via AP). Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, left, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel speak Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, during a news conference at the University of Chicago Medical Center, in Chicago, after a gunman opened fire a...(Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune via AP). Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, left, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel speak Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, during a news conference at the University of Chicago Medical Center, in Chicago, after a gunman opened fire a...
    Police say argument turns into shooting at Chicago hospital; 4 dead.More >>
    Police say argument turns into shooting at Chicago hospital; 4 dead.More >>

By ROXANA HEGEMAN
Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A group that supports abortion rights on Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging a Kansas ban on telemedicine abortions, a practice that allows women in rural areas to get abortion pills without an in-office consultation in a city clinic.

The Center for Reproductive Rights contends the anti-abortion section in the Kansas Telemedicine Act is unconstitutional because it treats women seeking abortions differently from other patients seeking medical care through telemedicine. It also argues the provision creates an undue burden to abortion access.

If the ban takes effect Jan. 1 as scheduled, doctors would have to be physically present when a woman takes medication to end her pregnancy, the group contends.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed its lawsuit on behalf of Trust Women Wichita, which has operated a clinic offering reproductive health care, including abortions, since 2013.

"This ban hurts Kansas women by mandating that they must travel farther and pay more in gas, child care, lost wages and lodging to access necessary medical care," Julie Burkhart, chief executive officer of Trust Women, said in a news release. "Medication abortion is safe whether provided in-person or by telemedicine."

The Kansas attorney general's office, which represents the state in lawsuits, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

The complaint filed in Shawnee County District Court argues that 97 percent of Kansas counties in 2014 were without a single clinic that provides abortions, and more than half of Kansas women live in those counties. The five clinics in Kansas that offer abortion services are all in Wichita or suburban Kansas City.

Trust Women recently began providing medication abortion via telemedicine to expand access to the clinic's services, according to the lawsuit. Before Trust Women introduced telemedicine, the clinic was able to provide abortion care two days a week because its physicians had to travel to Wichita. Telemedicine allowed it to offer the service on additional weekdays and Saturdays.

The Kansas Telemedicine Act requires insurances companies in Kansas to cover health care services provided through telemedicine if insurance already covers the services during personal visits to a doctor. The law aims to improve access to health care in underserved communities and rural areas.

Abortion opponents insisted the telemedicine bill include language forbidding abortion by telemedicine. Lawmakers then added a "non-severability" clause aimed at ensuring the entire law is nullified if the abortion ban is struck down. The lawsuit argues that it's ultimately up to the courts, not the Legislature, to decide whether a section of the legislation can be severed.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.